John Calvin: The Theologian of the Holy Spirit

            Many of you have heard of the Reformation Theologian John Calvin. If you know anything about Calvin I am certain it has to do with his teachings on salvation and predestination. He is so prominent that a school of thought in theological studies is named after him … Calvinism. That is why it is interesting to note that noted theologian B.B. Warfield (1887-1921) referred to Calvin as the “theologian of the Holy Spirit.” Reading Calvin’s Institutes one quickly realizes why Warfield referred to Calvin in those terms. It is the Holy Spirit, after all, who applies the work of Christ to our lives.

I don’t want to get off track … Since we are beginning a series on the Holy Spirit I wanted to share with you some classic devotionals on the Holy Spirit and Today we start with John Calvin on Ephesians 4:30 (Some of the Devotionals have been made easier to read by modernizing the language)

Grieving the Holy Spirit by John Calvin

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Ephesians 4:30

Because the Holy Spirit dwells in us, every part of our soul and our body ought to be devoted to him. If we give ourselves up to anything that is impure, we may rightly be said to be driving him away from making his abode with us. To express this in more familiar terms, human affections such as joy and grief are ascribed to the Holy Spirit. So we are to endeavor that the Holy Spirit may dwell cheerfully with us, as in a pleasant and joyful dwelling, and give him no occasion for grief.

We are sealed by the Spirit, Paul says. Because God has sealed us by his Spirit, we grieve him when we do not follow his guidance and pollute ourselves by wicked passions. No language can adequately express this solemn truth that the Holy Spirit rejoices and is glad on our account when we are obedient to him in all things and do not think nor speak anything but what is pure and holy. On the other hand, he is grieved when we admit anything into our minds that is unworthy of our calling.

Now, let us reflect what shocking wickedness there must be in grieving the Holy Spirit to such a degree that it compels him to withdraw from us. The same truth is expressed by the prophet Isaiah, but in a different sense, for he says people “vexed his Holy Spirit” (Isa. 63:10) in the same sense in which we are accustomed to speak of vexing the mind of a man.

The Spirit of God is the seal by which we are distinguished from the wicked. It is impressed on our hearts as a sure evidence of adoption.

For meditation: Several minutes of quiet reflection on the dreadfulness of grieving God Almighty should be a great impetus to new obedience. In what ways, could you be grieving the Holy Spirit at the present time? What should you do about this?

See You Sunday,

Pastor Byron